The Indian Pioneer Area having resources of poly metallic nodules is about 2000 km from the nearest Indian seaport. Development of technology for long term deep sea mining is a very complex task considering the depth and the distance of the mining site. So, the development work is attempted in different stages with the initial attempts for development being focused at 500 meters depth at about 40- 100 km from the nearest Indian port. However, as nodules are not available at 500 m depth, an artificial nodule carpeted site with a nodule abundance of 5–10 kg/m2 has to be created for proving the performance of any underwater mining system in shallow waters. A remotely operated artificial nodule laying system with a hopper and a rotary vane feeder was developed for this purpose. Thrusters are provided in the hopper to control its movement while the nodules are laid on the sea bed. Artificial nodules were developed having properties like density and aggregate impact index similar to that of manganese nodules using clay and sawdust and baked in a kiln. The hopper and feeder system was deployed at 520-m depth (Latitude 13.3N and Longitude 80.7E) with 1.5 tonnes of nodules in June 2007 and a nodule carpeted site was successfully created. An underwater mining system with a crawler based machine having a nodule collector and crusher and a flexible riser system are being developed.


Deep sea bed has potentially rewarding frontier resources and mining these resources will be challenging. The current interests are in Manganese nodules and cobalt rich crust. The demand for manganese nodules will be high in future. On 26th January, 1981 the Indian oceanographic vessel "ORV Gaveshni" collected the first sample of polymetallic nodule from Indian Ocean.

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